In January, we welcomed Tiffany and Jason Welch to the Runwell family and what an honor it has been! As a bonus both of their children are also involved, even nine-year-old Nathaniel has developed a passion for fundraising. We caught up with them to ask a few questions so we could highlight them in our Ambassador Spotlight.
Dr. Tiffany Welch works as a full time assistant professor of social work and the director of field education at Mansfield University of Pa. She has a passion for helping others and has built her entire social work career around it. Jason is currently the purchasing agent at Mansfield University as well as staff sergeant in the PA ARMY National Guard. He has been running his entire life and enjoys getting others involved in the sport. Micaiah, age 16, currently works part time at a local ice cream shop. She is currently hoping to go into the medical field in some capacity after graduation. She is active in sports including volleyball, track, and softball but feels that softball is her life. Nathaniel, age 11, is an active outdoor kid who is in boy scouts, plays baseball, and is always riding dirt bikes, four wheelers, or another motorized vehicle of sorts. We all live together on a small hobby farm in rural Pa, where we enjoy competing in local trail races, 5Ks, and other charity events.
No! Well, Jason has always been a runner but I was not. Soon after my mother passed away I realized that I was kind of a hypocrite as I was always telling my kids they needed to “get outdoors” or “be more active” yet I was not role modeling that at all. I decided to buy a treadmill and like it or not, I would force myself to start moving. I ran my very first mile without stopping when I was 31 years old and can still remember the celebration of the accomplishment. Since then I have completed 2 marathons, multiple half marathons (including back to back halves last summer at the PA grand canyon), two 25k trail races (my personal favorites), and the Megatransect, which was 27+ mile trail event that is one of the largest (and toughest in my opinion) in the United States. Additionally, our family has completed an endless number of 5k’s together. We try to make sure that the kids get out and finish at least 4-6 races each year. We don’t care if they walk or run, we just tell them we will see them at the finish line, whether they are ahead of us or behind us, we all always finish!
I had recently gotten involved with some small grass roots organizations that were fighting the drug epidemic we have in our local community. Jason came across the link when looking for some grants that could assist some of the individuals we were attempting to help and I decided why not–I can support others through doing something I love while encouraging others to also get involved-it was a win-win. I could continue to run with my family while assisting those in need and encouraging others to incorporate a healthy lifestyle into their recovery.
Running: Completing the Megatransect. I can remember climbing up the boulder field with my team, which included Jason, myself and another couple we often run with, and thinking about how just five years before I could have never dreamed of climbing mountains like that!
Runwell: Seeing the pride in the eyes of one of the local individuals in recovery when he finished his first 5k. He had ran it as part of our team and afterwards was telling me all about how good it felt and how he “never could have done that when he was using.” He continues to inspire me every day and probably doesn’t even know it!
Jason is always telling the kids and I “Never let the mind beat the body” so I would say we could go with that.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Run or walk at your own speed and never let yourself feel like it isn’t good enough or fast enough-the fact that you did it at all makes it great! I always tell myself that if I only race against myself, I always win. In the beginning I really struggled with always feeling like I would never be fast enough and found myself getting down on myself when I saw someone else was running so much faster. I had to remind myself that I could only do what I could do and that we are all different, some will run faster and some will run slower but we are all running and that is what leads to a healthier life!
My children have always been a big part of all of the volunteer work that Jason and I have been involved in. What I love most about is that I can continue to spend the time with my family while we are all doing something we love. At the same time we are all able to give back to the community by raising awareness as well as funds that will support individuals not only here in our local community but all across the country. You can’t beat it if you ask me!